Double world champion Julian Alaphilippe and sprint ace Mark Cavendish will not be on the starting line when the Tour de France starts from Copenhagen on Friday.
Alaphilippe has not recovered sufficiently in the two months since his horrific crash at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, his Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team said on Monday as they unveiled their eight-man roster for cycling’s biggest race.
Cavendish, who rides for the same team and last year equaled Eddy Merckx’s all-time Tour record of 34 stage wins, also missed the cut. He was named first reserve runner despite winning the British national title at the weekend.
“Regarding our reserves, we must emphasize that they have shown great professionalism, continued training and have remained focused over the past few weeks,” said Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sporting director Tom Steels.
The Belgian team will be led by another sprinter, Fabio Jakobsen, who has won 10 times this season.
Alaphilippe only resumed racing last weekend during the French championships.
He was forced to retire from the Belgian classic in April after being caught up in a mass accident and hitting a tree at high speed. Alaphilippe fractured a shoulder blade and two ribs and suffered a collapsed lung.
“To miss another opportunity to wear my beautiful rainbow jersey in my home country is very sad for me and I knew this decision would be difficult for the team,” said Alaphilippe. “At the same time, I totally understand that, because I too don’t want to be at the start if I can’t be at my best.”
With his unpredictable tactics and appetite for spectacular attacks, Alaphilippe is a fan favorite. He has won Tour stages in the past four editions and wore the race leader’s yellow jersey for 14 days in 2019.
Steels said the decision to leave Alaphilippe at home was “a very difficult decision because he is one of the most iconic riders on the team and we have written so many great moments together on the Tour”.
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